MPhys (Hons), DPhil
Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2017-2021)
- Project: Assessing the cardiovascular impact of novel diabetic treatments using hyperpolarized magnetic resonance.
Jack is an interdisciplinary medical physicist who uses Magnetic Resonance techniques to non-invasively probe metabolism in living systems, ranging from isolated enzymes to human beings.
His research uses low temperature quantum mechanics to transiently make stable isotope labelled metabolites highly visible to magnetic resonance techniques like NMR spectroscopy and MRI. By injecting labelled metabolites into living systems it is possible to observe their subsequent spatial, temporal, and biochemical behaviour, all three of which are altered in different states of health and disease. The technique in question, known as Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation (DNP) overcomes the fundamental thermodynamic limitations of conventional magnetic resonance, and essentially forms a birth of a new medical imaging technique. While conventional MRI can non-invasively provide vast quantities of anatomical information, linking this with the molecular biology of the cell is highly challenging. DNP provides direct evidence of the rate of specific chemical reactions in tissues, non-invasively and in a rapid period of time.
In 2017, Jack joined the Novo Nordisk-Oxford Fellowship Programme looking at the cardiac effects of type two diabetes, the canonical metabolic disorder. Many people with type two diabetes have worse outcomes following cardiovascular events, and are more likely to have cardiovascular events when compared to the population as a whole, and the mechanisms behind this phenomenon are not fully understood. His research project aimed to both probe and quantify metabolism in the diabetic heart, and see if promising novel therapies alter both the cardiac phenotype and disease progression.
Jack worked predominantly with Prof Damian Tyler in both the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, where they perform pre-clinical experiments, and in the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research in the John Radcliffe Hospital, where they undertake human studies. He is also an academic visitor in the Department of Physics, and teaches undergraduates as a Stipendiary Lecturer in Physics at St Hugh's College. From October 2017, Jack became a Junior Research Fellow in the Medical Sciences at Wadham College.
After his Fellowship, Jack was appointed an Associate Professor of Medical Physics and Metabolic Imaging at Aarhus University in Denmark, and was awarded a start-up grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. He was also appointed a Fellow by Resolution at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and is internationally renowned as an adaptable and able MR MR physicist. His research aims to continue to push the frontiers of what is technologically possible into meaningful clinical innovation, and quantify complex biological processes - such as metabolism - for both scientific and wider medical applications
For further information, including a current list of publications and contact details, can be found on his personal website.
Magnetic Resonance pH Imaging in Stroke – Combining the Old with the New
LARKIN J. et al, (2022), Frontiers in Physiology
Concentration dependent effects of dichloroacetate in type-2 diabetic hearts assessed by hyperpolarized [1-13 C]-pyruvate MRI.
Szocska Hansen ES. et al, (2021), NMR in biomedicine
Acidic environments trigger intracellular H+-sensing FAK proteins to re-balance sarcolemmal acid-base transporters and auto-regulate cardiomyocyte pH.
Wilson AD. et al, (2021), Cardiovasc Res
Maternal iron deficiency perturbs embryonic cardiovascular development in mice
Kalisch-Smith JI. et al, (2021), Nature Communications, 12
Diabetic mitochondria are resistant to palmitoyl CoA inhibition of respiration, which is detrimental during ischemia.
Kerr M. et al, (2021), FASEB J, 35